AN: So, I found this story on my old laptop the other day. And today I thought, what the hell. Maybe I'll try to finish it. Nothing like a 10+ year gap. But as a nurse working through this pandemic, I sure could use a distraction in whatever off time I get. So, I'm going to write what I can and post it, despite the fact that there's probably nobody reading Twilight fanfiction 10+ years later. Aaaaaand I also forgot how hard it is for me to write anything remotely dramatic. Blech. I need to talk to my 10 year younger self and ask just where the hell I thought I was taking this story. Welp. Here's to hoping the next chapter won't take 10 years to write. Cheers- wear your masks and social distance, ya'll.
I had been silent for hours. Silent through the long trip to the airport, silent under Jacob Black's controlled anger when he handed me my bag, and silent still when he suddenly hugged me fiercely before walking away. Rose fidgeted next to me in the hard seat of the airport terminal while we waited the long hours for our flight.
"Talk to me, Leah," she finally burst out, breaking the silence. "I want to know why the hell you were ready to just run out of La Push."
I stared at her blankly for a moment or two. "Didn't Jake tell you what happened?"
"Yes, about two sentences worth of information," she snorted. "Nothing that justifies this"- she gestured around us- "or you being crazy enough to run off on your own."
I turned my head away from her to stare unseeingly at the far wall. I heard her huff in frustration, and without looking, I could picture the pinched, annoyed look on her face.
"It's my fault, all of it," I said slowly. I swallowed hard and closed my eyes before continuing. "I knew exactly what I was doing, what was happening between Embry and I. Spending all our time together, being so close… I can say I didn't mean for any of this to happen, but I knew, deep down, even though I made myself believe I didn't know. I… I wanted to feel loved again so badly that I just let it happen, at first… and I believed that I was so broken by Sam that I would never love anyone again. I really believed that. And that made me believe I wouldn't actually let anyone love me, either."
Rose put out a hand and squeezed my arm sympathetically. I wasn't making much sense, but I knew she understood. I took a shuddering breath and went on.
"Embry loves me. I let that happen. God, I helped it happen. I couldn't stop it because I… I…"
I faltered, choked by the thick lump lodged in my throat. Rose sat silently for several long moments before taking my hand.
"Leah, do you love him?" she asked quietly. I hesitated, then looked at her, the answer clear in my pain-filled eyes. The edges of her lips quirked up into a tiny smile.
"So what's the problem, then? He loves you, has for months, and you've been walking around pretending you don't notice and don't feel the same. I get it, I know that you believed you couldn't love anyone or that anyone could love you- I once believed the same thing myself. But you can't let that come between you and Embry-"
I shook my head violently, cutting her off. "That's not it, that's not the problem. It doesn't matter how much we think we love each other!"
"What?" Rose's face twisted up into confusion. "How on earth does that not matter?"
"Because he's a Wolf. An unimprinted Wolf," I stated flatly.
Rose blinked, one hand coming up to cover her mouth as dawning realization bloomed across her face. "Oh. Oh my god, I never even thought about that. I just.. I thought… you two-"
"-have no business being more than casual friends," I interrupted forcefully. "That's why it was so wrong of me to let this happen, to just go along with everything because I wanted him to love me whether I admitted it to myself or not."
"But… but not all of you will imprint, right? I mean, it's not for sure. There has to be a way around it, or to know if you will or not."
"I can't risk it," I broke in wildly. "What if we were together, like me and Sam, and he imprinted? I won't make him live with that guilt. I couldn't survive it."
Rose sat silently, her tawny eyes observing me sharply for several long, long minutes before she leaned forward.
"Leah, I'm going to be blunt. I think you're making a mistake. I do. I think you and Embry belong together as much as any imprint couple. I respect your decision to leave. For now. But I want you to promise me that someday, and soon, you will at least think about the possibility that you and Embry were meant to be . Okay?"
I couldn't answer her. I couldn't bring myself to nod. I couldn't agree to consider that thought- it was too dangerous. Rose sighed with mingled frustration and pity.
"Alright, whatever. I'm going to get you something to eat," she said as she rose to her feet gracefully. I started to protest that I wasn't hungry, but she stopped me with a raised hand. "Oh, I know you don't want to eat. But it's been hours since you last did, and I'm not about to let you stop taking care of yourself. For god's sake, at least think about Seth, or your mom. Or me. You can feel sorry for yourself all you want, but if you think I'll be okay just letting you hurt yourself, or put yourself into danger…"
She trailed off, and I swallowed hard against the lump threatening to choke me. "I'm sorry," I managed to force out through my tight throat.
"I know. And I get it. But please, just stay here, and promise me you'll try to eat at least some of whatever I find."
I nodded my agreement. Rose gave me a quick smile before moving off quickly through the terminal. I closed my eyes, willing myself not to cry. Rose's concern hurt. It was just one more example of how I caused nothing but problems wherever I went. And yet, here she was with me, willing to go to Alaska to help me out, worried that I would do something stupidly risky. I didn't deserve it.
Behind my closed eyelids, I could see Embry's face, desperate and filled with hurt. It was so real I could almost smell him.
My eyes snapped open. I did smell him. But it was all wrong, somehow. Instead of the warm, almost spicy smell I loved, it had a sickly sweet aftertaste that was almost… cold.
Oh my god. Cyrus.
I started to rise to my feet in panic, but he was already there, sliding into the seat next to me. One arm slid around my shoulders in a vice-like grip and firmly pinned me back down into my seat. Cyrus crushed me to his side with all the appearance of a loving embrace and a cold, calculated triumph in his frightening eyes.
"Act naturally, or I swear you will regret it," he whispered in my ear, and the gentle, lover-like way he said it only made the menace in his threat that much worse.
Yeah, right. Act natural when I'm shaking so hard the entire row of seats is vibrating. I clenched my teeth and tried to flex my muscles to twist out of his casual grip.
"Tsk, tsk. I really didn't want to have to do this, you know," he told me with fake regret and a glittering smile. I felt a sharp poke in the side of my neck, and his ice cold fingers massaged the spot firmly. A warm, tingling, boneless sensation began to spread quickly through me until it was all I could manage to hold myself up in a sitting position. Even then, I was starting to slump heavily against the monster pinning me to his side.
"Coward," I spat out with as much venom as I could through the heavy lethargy threatening to shut down my consciousness.
His laughter rumbled unpleasantly against me. "I did warn you, Lady Wolf."
Rose's sharp exclamation was one of the only things left that could give me enough will-power to lift my head. Her face was frozen in a mask of fear and anger, and her eyes darted around looking for someone, anyone, who could help us. The humans around us didn't even notice.
"I thought I'd surprise you both," Cyrus said cheerfully as he motioned her forward. The way his fingers stroked my neck may have looked lover-like, but the implied threat was not lost on either of us.
"What did you do to her?" Rose hissed once she'd moved to take a seat opposite of us. Cyrus smiled again.
"I just helped her relax a little." He paused and circled my throat loosely with his fingers. "Now listen carefully. You don't want me to have to repeat myself. You will board your plane as planned, and you will act like everything is normal."
"Like hell I will," Rose snarled abruptly. Cyrus tsk'd again and shook his head in disappointment. Before I'd had time to react, he'd taken one of my fingers and snapped it like a dry twig. I gave a muffled whimper at the sharp, sickening pain, and cursed the lethargy that pinned me down.
"You will be on that flight," Cyrus told a horrified Rose calmly. "Because if you don't, not only will you die tonight, your precious Lady Wolf will suffer for it in ways you cannot even begin to imagine."
"You sick, twisted, bastard," she whispered furiously. "Even if you kill me, the rest of my family will find you."
Cyrus threw back his head and laughed. "I certainly hope so, my dear. You'd enjoy that, wouldn't you, my pet? Watching them die?" he asked me, stroking my hair even as he twisted my broken finger. I panicked, seeing broken bodies and bloody fur in my mind.
"Rose. Get on the plane," I murmured hoarsely.
"No. I'm not leaving you with him," she replied harshly. I used every ounce of my strength to force open my heavy lids to stare pleadingly at her wide, angry, terrified eyes. Cyrus merely smirked, confident.
"Rose, please. Please," I begged her past the lump of fear clogging my throat. The loudspeaker crackled to life, announcing the start of boarding for our flight. I held Rose's eyes with mine, willing her to do this for me- to get herself out of Cyrus' reach at the very least. She stayed where she was while the few other passengers trickled through the gate, and I inwardly cursed her innate stubbornness.
Cyrus casually twisted my wrist, and her face spasmed as the bone cracked. In one fluid motion, she swung herself to her feet and glared chillingly at Cyrus's calm face.
"We'll find you. You won't get far," she hissed venomously at him, and my stomach lurched in terror at the thought.
Cyrus merely smiled and held out a hand. "One more thing. Your phone, please."
Rose hesitated, hatred sparking in her beautiful eyes. Cyrus twisted my wrist again, the fractured ends of bone grating loudly enough for our sensitive ears to hear. Despite my best efforts, my face spasmed as a wave of pain and nausea washed over me, and Rose hastily slapped her phone into his waiting hand.
"Now then, off you go. And if anything should delay your take-off or divert your flight, I will know. Help will not arrive fast enough to save your Lady Wolf," Cyrus finished calmly. When Rose still hesitated, he brought my wrist up to his lips as if to kiss it. Instead, his teeth sank into my skin, exerting just enough pressure to hurt without breaking it. I sucked in a terrified breath. It wasn't just the stories of the Cold Ones that warned me a bite would be fatal; all my instincts screamed it at me. Rose knew it, too. She moved quickly through the gate, and our eyes met briefly as she gave one last, anxious look behind her. Then she was gone, and I was alone with Cyrus.
Strangely, he didn't seem to be in any hurry to move. He kept his arm leisurely around me, pressing me against him while he held my broken wrist in his free hand. He seemed mesmerized by the nearly imperceptible signs of healing as my body began to knit the bone back together. I noticed, for the first time, that he was dressed in Embry's clothes.
"I suppose I should thank you for making this so easy for me," Cyrus said finally. "But honestly, I'm a little disappointed. I was so enjoying the hunt. You were very well guarded, you know. Oh, I would have gotten you all the same, but prolonging it just would have added to my pleasure." He sighed a little, then lifted me away from him slightly so he could see my face. "But it's of no matter in the end. I have my prize."
Whatever he had injected me with left me so weak that it took all my strength to hold up my head. I glared at him with every ounce of hatred I had in me and struggled to spit out a cutting remark. My tongue felt as thick and heavy as my body. Cyrus merely smiled before quickly scooping me up and placing me in a wheelchair he must have placed several feet away. All I could do was struggle to keep myself upright as best I could as he quickly wheeled me away into a family restroom and locked the door behind us.
"Now then," he said cheerfully, opening the carry-on bag that was slung over the wheelchair's handlebars, "I can get out of these stinking rags, and you and I can look the part of a doting, loving husband taking his poor, sick, dying wife on one last trip around the world."
I tried to fight him, but I could hardly make my limbs move, much less stand up to his strength. I burned with humiliation and anger as he stripped and dressed me swiftly into an expensive and comfortable traveling outfit, then dressed himself quickly in an equally expensive suit. I tried to keep my eyes open and alert as possible as he maneuvred me swiftly through the terminals to board a waiting plane. If I could just shift into my Wolf, I could let my Pack see what I saw, and maybe they could find me. But even if I ever could, should I risk that?
I lost track of the number of hours, the number of different flights, and all sense of direction. Cyrus never left my side, and injected me with sedatives at any subtle sign that I was fighting it off. I existed in a hazy, drug-induced half-coma state that rendered me incapable of moving or even speaking intelligibly.
I became aware that I was being transferred into the back of a luxurious car. Cyrus slid in beside me and once again wrapped an arm around me to pull me to his side. He conversed with the driver in a language I didn't recognize, and we slid away from the curb. I tried to make out the direction we were heading, but either the windows were tinted completely black, or it was night. Cyrus's fingers trailed lazy circles of ice on the exposed skin of my arm. I recoiled from his touch in revulsion. His low chuckle grated on my ears before I felt the now familiar sharp jab of an injection.
"Sleep while you can, my pet," he murmured, and there was an ominous undertone to his words that even my sedated mind could hear. Try as I might to fight it, my heavy lids closed, and I lost all track of time.
I swam back into consciousness slowly, with a feeling of being encased in moving ice. I realized with a horrid start that I was in Cyrus's arms, being carried down a dimly lit, ancient stone hallway. Vainly, I fought against his hold as he entered a dark, cold room. I could make out his scarlet eyes and the flash of his white teeth as he tightened his grip painfully and grinned at me.
"Welcome home, Lady Wolf."